A WOMAN was airlifted to safety by a rescue helicopter after getting into difficulty while swimming off the coast of Co. Wicklow.
Members of the public alerted the Irish Coast Guard after a woman was seen struggling against strong tides and rough waters just off South Beach near Greystones.
Witnesses said the woman, who was apparently an experienced swimmer, had "drifted away" from two others she had been swimming with.
In dramatic footage recorded from the shore, a member of the Coast Guard can be seen being winched down to sea-level where the woman was battling against choppy waters.
After reaching the lifeguard, the woman was attached to the harness and lifted out of the sea and aboard the helicopter to safety.
A spokesman for the coast guard told RTÉ: "The woman was an experienced swimmer, but conditions were very windy - a wind warning had been issued for the area - and the sea was rough.
"The coast guard unit at Greystones went to the scene, but could not launch a boat due to the rough conditions.
"Around ten minutes after taking off from Dublin Airport, Rescue 116 [the helicopter] arrived at the scene and a winch-man went down to the water and lifted the woman to safety," said the spokesperson.
He added that the woman had been in the water for almost an hour and was "very tired and slightly hypothermic - she was wearing a swimsuit, not a wetsuit. The water temperature would have been around 10C".
— Hugh Cahill (@hughcahill7) November 11, 2020